The Christmas Truce of 1914 Seen from 2014

By Stephen M. Osborn

‘Twas a century ago this Christmas Eve
Heaven seemed to give the soldiers leave
Even to set their guns aside, and in friendship believe.

Christmas carols rang out across that blasted earth
Hungry and tired, both sides dreamt of home and hearth
Rising from his trench, a young German walked into that No Man’s Land
In his hands was a candle lit Christmas tree, his song was of a silent night.
Still, no shots from the West. The song was done, the tree planted on a shell-blasted stump.
Then, from both sides, officers walked to the tree and talked, a decision was made.
Men from both sides decided that, though soon they must kill again, Christmas should be a time of peace.
Along the front a truce was set, as men met, shared songs, rations and liquor, photos of families and friends.
Soccer was the only war that night, Allies versus Germans, and no one knows who “won.”

The night was filled with love and brotherhood, food and schnapps, brandy, rum and song.
Realizing that they were fighting “themselves,” too bad they didn’t throw down their guns.
Up and down the front it could have spread, troops throwing down their guns, marching home.
Calling out to the generals, if they truly wanted a war, to fight it out between themselves.
Ending four years of horror, before it had hardly begun.

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